The Shirt Fixes Gaping Fashion Problem; Seeks $1 Million in Angel Funding

Rochelle Behrens has found a solution to a fashion problem most professional women face.

Button-downed shirts offer a professional look, but most come with buttons that are improperly placed for a woman’s bust. Women must resort to buying shirts that are too large or use safety pins to avoid “the gape.”

Behrens has solved this gaping issue. In 2010, she launched The Shirt, which features dual button technology and is tailored to fit a women’s body. The novel tech is basically two interior buttons that are situated to keep the shirt from opening, she says.

“This is something women need,” Behrens said Tuesday on the sidelines of the FashInvest conference. “This does enable you to feel confident. What you wear really matters.”

At FashInvest, which aims to bring together the fashion and investment communities, Behrens spoke to an audience filled with VCs, entrepreneurs and students. The Shirt, founded in 2010, is cash flow positive, she says. The Washington D.C. –based company is currently seeking a $1 million angel round and has received about $200,000 in commitments, she says. “I’ve put in just enough to get it going,” she says.

Behrens started The Shirt when she was working as a lobbyist in Washington. She says she would wear buttoned-down shirts to appear professional and didn’t realize she was “undermining her own credibility.” She became “so vexed” by the gape that she set out to conquer it.

Behrens, The Shirt’s CEO, says there are 12 million women in the U.S. making more than $100,000 a year. The Shirt is sold in boutiques and at Bloomingdales across the U.S. Even Oprah loves The Shirt and called it a “fashion must have” for 2011. The Shirt, however, is pricey and sells for $150 to $200 each. While Behrens does want to try a more “mass appeal” shirt, she says that “fashion is expensive.”

Photo courtesy of The Shirt